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*Hero versus Beauty

Hero versus Beauty

 Around the 1970s, the TV manufacturing industry in Taiwan launched an exciting competition. Sampo Corporation was the first company to ignite the war by introducing its new TV, “Napoleon,” followed by Tatung’s “Venus” model. Thus, a “hero versus beauty” rivalry in the TV industry was ignited, marking a historical moment in the development of industrial design for Taiwan’s home appliance industry. Now let us take a closer look.
 A vital vehicle for popular culture and information dissemination, television was first introduced into Taiwan society in 1962 from Japan. At the time, when the black-and-white TV dominated the entire market, the technology in Taiwan had to rely on Japan, following its tripod style and relatively simple design. By 1969, color television entered the market; its design became more and more luxurious. TV often anchored the rest of the furniture; it represented the economic capacity of a family, and was one of the most popular dowry items. In 1973, Sampo introduced the 20 inch, floor-type luxury model designed by Sharp Corporation of Japan, in which the base can be rotated about 15 degrees, and named it “Napoleon.” The name helped to make the new TV an immediate success, and posed a serious threat to its rival company.
 The president of Tatung Corporation at the time, Mr. Lin Ting-sheng, immediately ordered his team in the Department of Industrial Design to develop a TV model in two weeks that could surpass the Napoleon's, triggering fierce competition. In the era of luxurious and pompous consumerism, style was the primary goal. In accordance with the psychological needs of the consumers, Tatung’s design team came up with a new model that was two centimeters higher and wider than its rival, equipped with two more speakers, and a base that could rotate 30 degrees. In addition, the protruding CRT, hidden switch, remote control, and oriental color scheme charmed the company’s clients. Now, the last remaining challenge was to come up with a captivating name that could crush Napoleon the hero.
 Mr. Zheng Yuan-jin, who was principally responsible for the case, had an inspiration. Since Napoleon was a hero, a classic beauty would be the name destined to overpower the hero. Finally, the name “Venus” was used to seek golden success. Mr. Zheng even wrote eight consecutive articles on the story of Venus, and published in Tatung biweekly, to stimulate sales. As expected, the first-generation Venus defeated Napoleon six months after its inauguration; the hero had become a prisoner of love. Following the introduction of Napoleon and Venus, series modeling became the dominant force for several years in the TV market .

Note 1: April 28, 1962, Taiwan Television Enterprise Ltd. was formally established, and began broadcasting on October 10th of the same year. It was also Taiwan’s first TV manufacturer.
Note 2: Most of the older generation in Taiwan has gone through the excitement of gathering around a TV to watch the Little League Championship game. TV has quietly changed Taiwan society from farming to leisure entertainment, and has become one of the necessities among household appliances.
Note 3: It was reported that Mr. Chen Mao-bang, the founder of Sampo Corporation, was very fond of classical music, and that the naming of its TV Napoleon TV was inspired by Beethoven’s Heroic Symphony. As a result, the invincible hero had made the introduction of the new TV an instant success.
Note 4: Mr. Zheng Yuan-jin recalled during an interview, “normally, an innovative or modified product requires from two to eight months to accomplish, but now the chairman has only given us two weeks to complete the task.


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